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Mankind may not be fully aware of it yet, but on June 26, 2000, at precisely 10:19 am EDT, it came to an historic fork in the road. It was at that moment that President Clinton, flanked by scientists from government and private industry, held a press conference at the White House to announce that science has begun to unravel the mysteries of genetic coding.

Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and Dr. Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics Corporation, said that working in competition with each other, the two organizations had reached a point in their research where they could decipher the hereditary script contained in the human genome, the set of instructions that defines the human organism. The genome consists of two sets of 23 giant DNA molecules, or chromosomes, with each set—one inherited from each parent—containing more than three billion chemical units.

The New York Times said this breakthrough is expected to revolutionize the practice of medicine. "Biologists expect in time to develop an array of diagnostics and treatments based on it, and tailored to individual patients, some of which will exploit the body's own mechanisms of self-repair," the Times reported.

"The knowledge in the genome could be used in harmful ways," the Times went on, "particularly in revealing patients' disposition to disease if their privacy is not safeguarded."

The discovery has the potential for enormous good as well as enormous harm. What did the skies over the White House look like at the time of the announcement? The astrological patterns overhead are highly evocative of that moment—a true picture of mankind coming to a fork in the road.

The Yod Formation

Looking at the horoscope computed for 10:19 am, in Washington, D.C., one is thunderstruck by the overall pattern—several of the ten planets and the North Node of the Moon form an astrological formation known as a yod. The yod is a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the first letter in the Hebrew name for God, Yahweh. The traditional name of this pattern has been "The Finger of God." It is considered a fateful configuration, and in birthcharts of individuals, usually indicates that somewhere in his life the individual will face a turning point. It consists of a planet or group of planets receiving 150 degree quincunx aspects from planets sextile to each other. The pattern forms a Y spanning the horoscope—a symbolic fork in the road.

It is indeed astonishing that in announcing the genome breakthrough, the President and the scientific researchers both referred to God in their remarks. The President said, "Today we are learning the language in which God created life." Dr. Collins remarked, "We have caught the first glimpses of our instruction book, previously known only to God." Whether you believe in a supreme deity or not, the language used at the press conference surely evokes the feeling of an event touched by "the finger of God."

Four Planets in Cancer

The most significant part of a yod formation is the planet or planets at the apex of the yod. In this case, there are three of them, the Sun, Mars and Venus, all in the sign of Cancer. Mercury and the North Node are also close by in the sign of Cancer, but they are not technically part of the yod formation.

Cancer represents conception, gestation and birth. The focus of this scientific effort is to understand this life-forming process and by understanding, enhance it. The Sun is life itself, and Venus and Mars represent the male and female procreative urges. Mercury is our ability to comprehend. Finally, the North Node is said to represent our path to the future.

The Sun, Mars and Venus receive stressful quincunx aspects from Pluto in Sagittarius and Neptune in Aquarius. Pluto is the urge to probe, to see deeper, to enhance by removing what is no longer acceptable and to regenerate. This may symbolize man's desire to create life without flaws. The other arm of the yod is formed by Neptune. Neptune points to the urge to heal. Neptune and Pluto are in a wide sextile to each other, completing the yod.

The stressful nature of the yod indicates that the planets at the apex of the formation—the Cancer group—must make adjustments to the new developments and the demands created by the aspecting planets. The way in which humanity propagates itself may never be the same.

Although technically not part of the yod, Uranus, in Aquarius, the sign of science and technology, is making a quincunx aspect to Mercury and the North Node. Uranus is the sign that rules Aquarius, saying that technological developments in general and genetics in particular are intensifying.

Jupiter-Saturn Conjunction

Another significant feature is the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Taurus on the Midheaven of the chart. Jupiter  and Saturn meet only once every twenty years, and mark the beginning and endings of major cycles of social change. Jupiter rules morality and Saturn represents law and authority. Indeed, this new development will present serious moral challenges and will call for responsible leadership and regulation. The fact that the conjunction is in Taurus means that the ethical and legal decisions regarding future genetic research will depend on the values of those making the decisions. In the framework of Taurus, the issues will center on decisions based positively on higher ethical values or negatively on the desire of those who control the research to make money out of it.

Finally, we come to the Moon in this horoscope. The Moon lies in Aries, the sign of the pioneer, bravery and those not afraid to move into new frontiers. Poetically, this Moon speaks of a brave new world—with all the wonder and potential horror that image elicits.

Genetically Engineered Society

In his novel Brave New World, Aldous Huxley painted a picture of a future society in which humans were genetically engineered to fit into the cogs of society's wheels. Individuals were grown in laboratories—some to work in factories, some to serve as laborers, some to work in offices. They were perfect in their pre-selected roles, because they had been genetically altered to fit their specific niches.

The symbolic hero of that novel was a "savage" who could quote Shakespeare. He was Huxley's reminder to us not to abandon the Earth, the primitive and the poetic. Not to forget our humanity.

"How many goodly creatures are there here!" Shakespeare wrote. "How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, that has such people in it!"

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John M. Whalen is freelance writer, astrologer, and editor of a business publication based in Washington, D.C. He writes about film, TV, music and travel for various magazines and newspapers. He contributed a chapter on the life and films of director Sam Peckinpah to the new book, The Astrology of Film: The Interface of Movies, Myth, and Archetype.

Send an email to the author.

For more information about John Whalen, click here.

Other StarIQ articles by John Whalen:

  • Astro-Zen   9/10/2004
  • Polarized Politics   8/20/2004
  • Saturn and the Vanquishing of Illusion   11/3/2003
  • The Grand Illusion   1/9/2003
  • Two Degrees of Scorpio   10/10/2002
  • Venus Elements   2/14/2002
  • Timothy McVeigh: The Day of Judgment   5/9/2001
  • Kevin Spacey: A Mystery Wrapped in an Enigma   4/9/2001
  • Keanu Reeves' Excellent Adventure   3/8/2001
  • Steven Soderbergh: Putting the Cuffs on Oscar   3/5/2001
  • The Christmas Eclipse: Bringing Your Heart's Desire   12/25/2000
  • Robert DeNiro: Master of Form and Essence   11/18/2000
  • Sylvester Stallone: A Fallen Star, Rising Again?   10/28/2000
  • Yasser, Ehud, Can We Talk?   8/31/2000
  • Alec Guinness: Reluctant Jedi   8/19/2000
  • Survivor: Candid Camera Runs Amok   7/8/2000
  • Samuel L. Jackson: Shaft for the New Millennium   7/1/2000
  • Jackie Chan: Fearless Aries with the Comic Touch   6/23/2000
  • Astro-Zen   4/9/2000

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